The Odyssey An Epic Adventure by Homer Ms. C. Anderson 2012
Homer • Legendary ancient Greek epic poet • Wrote the Illiad and the Odyssey • Was a blind court singer/storyteller • The Illiad tells the story of Achilles; takes place during the Trojan War • The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus and his journey home after the war has ended.
Characteristics of Epic Poetry • A long, narrative poem on a serious subject • Formal, elevated style • Centers on a hero • The hero’s actions determine the fate of his nation, people, and/or humanity as a whole • These actions take place in battles and wars, long journeys and quests, and other adventures • Gods and other supernatural beings/forces take an interest and an active involvement in human affairs.
The Trojan War • The Trojan War actually occurred: The city of Troy fell into the hands of the Greeks. • Archaeologists have found historical evidence of the war. • Was it exactly as told in The Iliad? • No. It was probably fought over commerce and trade between Greece and Asia Minor. (modern-day Turkey) • But Homer’s version (The Iliad) is more exciting! • Some of the characters may have been based on real personalities.
Where’s Troy? • Troy is across the Aegean Sea from Greece. • Troy was also called Ilium, Ilion, and Ilios. • A well-walled city with broad streets and beautiful palaces…until the Trojan War.
When: 1193 – 1184 B.C. That’s 3,200 years ago! • Greeks (Achaeans) • Achilles- Greatest Greek Warrior • King Agamemnon • Nestor • Odysseus • Patroclus • Menelaus- Helen’s Husband • Trojans • Hector- Greatest Trojan Warrior • King Priam- Father of Hector • Aeneas • Paris- Helen’s Abductor
How did the Trojan War Start? • Eris, goddess of discord, was not invited to a wedding banquet on Mt. Olympus. • Into the banquet hall, Eris tossed a golden apple inscribed “For the Fairest.” • Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite asked Zeus to decide who deserved the apple. • Zeus would not choose. (He’s no fool!) • Zeus says Paris is an excellent judge of beauty, and refers the goddesses to him.
Judgment of Paris • Paris was the son of King Priam of Troy. • He was rather weak and cowardly. • Priam had sent him away from Troy because an oracle prophesied that he would be the ruin of the city. • When the goddesses appeared to Paris, they each offered him a bribe: • Athena would make him a great warrior. • Hera would make him ruler of Europe and Asia. • Aphrodite would give him the most beautiful woman in the world.
Whom did he choose? • Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite. • She then took Paris to Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. • Hera and Athena, however, vowed revenge.
Helen— “The face that launched a thousand ships” • Helen was a daughter of Zeus. • She was the wife of Menelaus. • Menelaus was the brother of the Greek King, Agamemnon. See the problem?
The Greeks Respond! • Menelaus asks all of Greece to help. • Odysseus didn’t want to fight for Helen. • His son had just been born, so he did not want to leave his home (Ithaca) • He tried to get out of the draft by acting insane—it didn’t work! • Achilles was kept back by his mother. • Thetis was a sea nymph who knew he was fated to die in Troy (prophecy) • Both men played integral roles in the war.
Trojan Horse • The Greeks pretend to retreat, leaving behind a large wooden horse. • The Trojans, in celebration, drag the horse inside their city as a war prize. • The Greeks wait until the Trojans are asleep, and then they come out and slaughter them. • The Trojan War is ended. The Trojans lost. • The Greeks won.
Odysseus is the greatest hero remaining alive…but now he has to get home… The Odyssey is the story of how Odysseus’ journey home.
Epithets An epithet is a tag or nickname that can be used on its own or together with the real name to help the reader remember the character. Used throughout The Iliad and The Odyssey. “Gray eyed Athena” “Odysseus great glory of the Achaeans” “Odysseus, son of Laertes” Other epithets you may know: Richard the Lion-Hearted Ivan the Terrible America the Beautiful
Epic or Homeric Similes • A detailed simile that is many lines in length • Homer uses an object of comparison that was familiar to his audience since this was an oral poem—helped them imagine the scene • Homer’s similes glorify his characters, enrich his text, and deepen his readers’ understanding.
Examples of Homeric Similes • "They swarmed forth like wasps from a roadside nest…" (p.421, 305-308) • "As ravenous wolves come swooping down on lambs…so the Achaeans mauled the Trojans." (p. 424, 415) • "…the ranks pulled closer, tight as a mason packs a good stone wall…" (p. 419, 250-251)
In Medias Res In Medias Res is Latin for “in the middle”. Odysseus’ story begins in the middle. We first see Odysseus after he has experienced many adventures which he will recount in a flashback to the Phaeacians. Frame Story Homer tells the epic story. Odysseus tells about his journey from Troy. Odysseus & his men leave Troy. Odysseus returns to Ithaca and the action resumes.